(The Center Square) – Gov. Ralph Northam ordered a 6 p.m. curfew for Arlington County and the city of Alexandria amid the protests in Washington, in which protesters from a pro-Trump rally broke into the U.S. Capitol building.
The curfew for the two localities that border the nation's capital will last until 6 a.m. Thursday. Northam also issued a state of emergency for the commonwealth of Virginia.
“At the request of [the Alexandria government] and [the Arlington government], I am declaring a 6PM to 6AM curfew in these jurisdictions, with limited exceptions,” Northam said in a tweet. “I am also issuing a State of Emergency in Virginia, so we can continue to respond.”
Northam sent members of the Virginia National Guard and about 200 Virginia State Troopers to help manage the protests at the request of Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser. The Capitol building had been secured by Wednesday evening.
Supporters of President Donald Trump gathered in Washington to protest the recognition of the official 2020 election results by Congress, which was won by President-elect Joe Biden. The Trump campaign has filed several lawsuits alleging mass voter fraud.
Congress was unable to officially recognize the results after the Capitol building was stormed and Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers were forced to evacuate the building. The president asked protesters to refrain from violence after it had erupted.
“I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful,” Trump said in a tweet. “No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”
I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2021
The tactics of the protesters also received criticism from Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Virginia.
“What has occurred at the U.S. Capitol today is inexcusable,” Virginia House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, said in a statement. “It is not a protest. It is a riot masquerading as a protest. We are a nation of laws. When we have differences, including over the conduct and method of elections, we settle them according to law. Courts, legislatures, and votes determine the shape of our nation, not mobs who cause destruction and attack law enforcement.”
House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax, also condemned the actions.
“It is a sad day for our nation and our Democracy,” Filler-Corn said. “The insurrection at the U.S. Capitol is an affront to everything we believe in and unrepresentative of our character as a nation. It is the constitutional and moral responsibility of our elected leaders at every level to denounce these violent, undemocratic actions. I am holding in my thoughts those first responders doing their best to restore peace and order, and all the elected officials and staff threatened by this lawless mob. Though they will try to destroy what we have built in this nation for more than 240 years, they will not succeed.”